As cybercrime becomes more advanced and widespread, organizations must constantly defend themselves against threats. As a result, cybersecurity training is in high demand to protect platforms against potential breaches.
Today, many colleges, universities, trade schools, independent training organizations, and corporations themselves, are investing in cybersecurity training. Cybersecurity labs are an important component of any such training program, designed to give students the skills they need to combat the most sophisticated cyber criminals.
Though the need for training is unquestioned, many institutions find it difficult to determine how best to implement this hands-on portion of the training. Traditional cybersecurity labs, which are made up of individual desktops in one physical space, pose many challenges. Teacher and student schedules must be aligned, work must be done when desktops are available, they’re expensive to implement from scratch, and they consume a considerable amount of time and resources to keep them up and running as well as up to date.
A more practical and cost-effective alternative to a physical cybersecurity lab is a virtual one. It provides a way for university, college, or trade school students as well as IT professionals looking to hone their skills, access to high-quality training from any location.
What are virtual cybersecurity labs?
Virtual cybersecurity labs are based in the cloud with all operating systems, servers, software, applications, and simulation data centrally maintained. Students access these labs by logging in from any device with an internet connection. End-users do not need to house or maintain any of the programs or software on their own machines; instead, they simply login to the virtual environment via their browser.
With a scenario-based approach, cloud-based virtual cybersecurity labs provide the best training environment for teaching network security. College, university, or trade school students encounter and work through real-life scenarios in cyber labs that reinforce the theories and other content learned in the classroom. IT professionals have the opportunity to continue their education by practicing these skills within their own companies, helping to advance their careers to the next level.
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What are the benefits of cybersecurity labs?
Virtual cybersecurity labs have grown in popularity, especially during the social distancing requirements of the COVID-19 global pandemic. Furthermore, the tremendous demand for trained cybersecurity professionals has put pressure on educators to up their training offerings. Virtual cybersecurity labs can deliver superior cybersecurity education at a lower cost.
With their increasing popularity, cyber labs provide numerous benefits, whether they are in a college or corporate setting, including:
Virtual cybersecurity labs provide an increased level of safety for students. They can practice ethical hacking on a simulated network without posing any risk to an actual environment. Students also gain experience with warding cyber criminals off without the danger and repercussions of actual hackers.
With technology advancing at an incredible rate, universities that still utilize traditional cyber labs may struggle to keep up. Instructors are often forced to either settle for older technology or repeatedly update programs and hardware and cover the expenses that come with them.
A virtual cybersecurity lab allows students to take advantage of upgraded technology without the cost of hardware. Virtual labs are incredibly versatile – with few or no additional costs, they can expand to accommodate additional students or employees. As a result, they’re a great choice for organizations in need of a scalable solution.
System Access Anywhere
Virtual cybersecurity labs are accessed through a web browser on any computer or device. Students no longer need to crowd into a computer lab room full of PCs on certain days and times. Instead, students can study whenever and wherever they work best, whether that’s a dorm room, empty classroom, or common area. Students don’t need high-end hardware to access the system. Since the cyber lab is run primarily through a browser, all that is necessary is a connection to the Internet.
IT professionals can benefit as well, working on their cyber lab scenarios from home, in the office, or while traveling on other business.
Whether a college or university needs a range of cybersecurity courses or a corporation requires different courses for new and experienced IT professionals, virtual cybersecurity labs can be tailored to meet any educational need. In fact, many providers offer ready-to-go courses for users to immediately dive into, or will work with customers to custom build materials.
Rapid or Real-Time Feedback
Unlike physical labs, instructors in virtual cybersecurity labs can provide feedback in a much shorter time frame. Like their students, they’re able to securely access coursework from any device, giving them much more freedom as to when and where they can review assignments or answer questions.
Finally, teachers can provide feedback beyond simple assessment grades – virtual cybersecurity labs provide opportunities for more extensive feedback on many different types of assignments. Instructors can offer help at various points, as well as track analytics like user participation.
Within a corporate setting, IT managers can evaluate how their teams are performing, where strengths and weaknesses lie, and where to add additional training.
Since many labs use simulations of real programs, they put students in a real-life environment, giving them necessary exposure to simulated dangers. Students can understand what cybersecurity looks and feels like without the safety concerns of actual cyber insecurities.
Keeping up with cybersecurity advancements is essential for organizations. Virtual cybersecurity labs are the most affordable and practical option to provide the education students are looking for within higher education, and corporations can utilize cyber labs within their professional development and training programs.
A trusted partner for higher education institutions and enterprises since 2014, Apporto works with customers to understand their unique needs in order to reduce demands on IT departments, maximize productivity, and boost security architectures. Contact us today to learn more about our virtual cybersecurity labs and how we empower students through access to immersive learning experiences that prepare them for today’s and tomorrow’s cybersecurity challenges.